Thrash metal; people are either completely obsessed with it or they just hate it. However, there is no reason to deny that something unique and completely brutal was stirring up in Christian music in the late 1980's. Long before metal groups like Vengeance Rising exploded onto the scene, The Crucified was formed in 1984 and took their stab at proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ through crossover thrash metal. After being out of print for many years, Tooth & Nail Records has finally released a box set collection, which consists of original demo material dating way back to 1987 to their grand finale studio release, The Pillars of Humanity in 1992. Being a fan of groups like Stryper, Whitecross, and early Living Sacrifice, it seemed like an obvious choice to check out this collection of music.
The first disc contains all of the demos and live concert audio recorded back in the late 80's by the band. Whether you are a heavy metal fanatic or not, it will take some time to get use to the punk rock vocal delivery and low production values displayed throughout this first disc. Punk rock usually consists of 2½ or sometimes 3-minute songs, and most of the early material on this disc barely makes the 1½ minute mark at times. First-time listeners will be surprised to make their way through the first demo "KGB," consisting of ten songs, in less than 15 minutes. What makes this complete box set worthwhile is the second disc comprised of the band's two full-length albums: the self-titled The Crucified and The Pillars of Humanity. Due to the fact that these two albums were professionally recorded and more fleshed out than their previous material, both will go down in the history books as the band's best material to date.
The compilation DVD is an interesting mix of concert footage and outtakes recorded on 8mm film and video cassette. The video opens with the following statement: "Due to the fact that this is the only filmed material retained by The Crucified, the following presentation is of poor quality, but we are sure you will get over it." Not something anyone wants to hear, particularly at the first of the video, but the concert footage is worth seeing for old and new fans of the group. The biggest treat was viewing rare footage of Bruce Fitzhugh and Jason Truby from Living Sacrifice performing alongside The Crucified during the song "Mindbender" at the Cornerstone Festival in 1992. Some of the nonsense and silliness displayed by the band brings to mind some of the pranks seen on other compilation DVDs from Audio Adrenaline, Underoath, The Chariot, and Haste The Day. Certain pranks such as bass player Jeff Bellow's decision to disguise his voice while going through the drive-thru window of a restaurant seem a little humorous, but others come across as arrogant and unnecessary for this DVD.
This complete collection of music showcases the best and worst material from a crossover thrash metal band that played a huge role in the history of hardcore Christian metal. However, some of today's thrash metal fanatics could easily pass on The Crucified when compared to bands like Metallica, Pantera, or Iron Maiden. If it was possible, Tooth & Nail should have included the lyrics for both of the full-length studios albums but all song lyrics can be found at the band's website: www.thecrucified.net. With the reformation of The Crucified earlier in 2009, as well as the band's first reunion show taking place this summer, this complete collection of music could not have come out at a better time. Recommended for fans of Living Sacrifice, Vengeance Rising, early 90's heavy metal, and lovers of early Tooth & Nail bands.- Review date: 8/3/09, written by Fred Keel of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
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